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Band-Aids Don’t Fix Bullet Holes (a look into the core of our being – part 6)

bandaid bullet hole

As Taylor Swift says it,

“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.”

Ain’t that the truth?

– We’ve established that each of us has a soul.

– That our soul’s deepest longing is for reconnection with its Maker, its Father.

– That a messy soul needs de-cluttering.

But what about the broken soul?

The soul that’s been left bruised or hemorrhaging?

Is there hope for a blistered soul that has formed calluses of protection?

“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.”

No amount of activity or distraction can stop the bleeding.

Cliches and pat answers aren’t sufficient and fall empty on the ears of a hurting soul.

This is why we turn to anything that we think will take that deep pain away.  We self-medicate the cuts that medicine can’t touch.

We apply band-aids to our bullet holes with:

– food

– alcohol

– drugs

– unhealthy relationships

– shopping

– cram-packed schedules

– anything that will take our minds off of our souls that are crying out for mending.


As a “soul survivor”, I have known the deep, incessant ache of a broken and unhealthy soul.

I have felt the wounds left by others and the gashes I have inflicted on myself.  Life and circumstance have left me bloody many times.

But no matter how many band-aids I slapped over the surface, regardless of the variety of self-medication I tried to apply to my soul’s pain, those bullet holes constantly reminded me that they were still there.

The soul will not be ignored.

It needs the healing touch of its Great Physician.

But practically speaking, how does that happen?  How can we know and experience true healing?

From personal experience I can tell you where it started for me.

In my “cussing”  closet.

At my most broken, when, as David put it in the Psalms, my soul was sick within me,  I would retreat to my closet and scream out the pain that my battered soul was suffering.

Face down on the carpet.  Vomiting tears like my body was trying to rid itself of poison.

My soul was sick with grief, with disappointment, with regret.

And I knew that there was nothing more that I could try to heal it by myself.

I recognized my diseased soul for what it was and cried to God for help.

I’d like to say that God healed my soul right then and there, but that would be a deceptive fairy tale of a story.

The truth is, my journey to healing has taken years.  It has been excruciating at times, like a surgery without anesthesia.  Repairing damage that I’d forgotten was even there.  Flushing out wounds and removing the debris wasn’t always pleasant, but it was so necessary for true healing.

“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes”

There were bullets that needed to be taken out and residual damage that needed to be addressed.

Then, and only then, could any kind of dressing be applied.

As I look back at all of the examples of Jesus healing people in the New Testament, I see the principles that seem to be necessary for knowing true healing.

 – We have to be aware that our soul is broken and we have to want it fixed.

In John 5, Jesus sees a man who has been paralyzed for 38 years.  He asks him, “Do you want to get well?”

Seems like a strange question to ask an infirmed person.  But Jesus recognized that this man had learned to live in this state.  Healing would mean a complete change in his life. Was he willing to give up sitting and begging to get up and start living? Was he willing to trust Jesus to heal him?

Is our sick soul ready for a change?  Are we ready to “get up and walk”, trusting Jesus to give us what we need to start on the journey to healing?

This man decided to trust Jesus at His word and got up, grabbing his mat and walking into a brand new life of healing.

 – We need to immerse ourselves in the healing power of God’s Word and Presence.

Matthew 8: 5-17 – When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!  … Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever.  But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.

 That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said,

He took our sicknesses
and removed our diseases.

John 4:46-53 – 

 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.  When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed.  While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.  When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

Jesus is still in the business of healing.  Of miracles.  His Word still breathes life into us.  His presence and touch still heal us at the core.

When we read God’s promises of love and restoration and take them to heart, our souls begin to respond like a patient to treatment.

When we see Jesus’ heart toward the broken and His active participation in their healing, we begin to understand His care for us and our souls begin to drink in the salve of His touch on our lives.

– We need to take up our “mat” and walk.

Like the man at the pool, Jesus asks us to get up in faith (the man didn’t know he could walk until he trusted Jesus at his word and actually got up) and to take our “mat” with us and follow Him for our next steps.

Leave that place of pain that our soul has become so accustomed to with no intention of lying back down there again.

All of the people that Jesus touched and healed with his words and presence got a glimpse of the power of the Great Physician.

While Jesus was healing their physical wounds and illnesses, their souls were being changed and healed, too.

 – Tell others about your journey to healing and Who is making it all happen.

Over and over again, when Jesus impacted the life of a person through healing in the New Testament, the former patients would share with others what the Great Physician had done for them.

One beautiful example was when Jesus met the woman at the well (John 4).  Her soul was no doubt riddled with wounds that were caused both by others and her own choices.

But after meeting Jesus, after listening to His intimate knowledge of her and her life, after experiencing His love and His offer of life to her, she began to experience a healing so deep and profound that she had to go and tell others.

This confirmed her own experience.

It offered hope and healing to others.

It gave credit to the Healer.

In the healing of my own soul (that no doubt will continue for the rest of my life), I’ve discovered that when I recount to others what Jesus has done for me, my faith is revived all over again.  And when they hear the “rags to riches” saga of my soul, they want that healing, too.

Band-aids will never fix bullet holes.

But I know Someone who can….

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

(*Do you have more questions or want to discuss this on a more personal level?  Contact me at  I’d love to hear from you!)






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House or Home? (a look into the core of our being, part 5)


My business has morphed into two categories:

Staging and Interior Decorating.

At first glance, you could mistake one for the other.

But at their core, they are very different.

When I stage, I go into a home, eliminate personal things like family pictures and go about the business of making the house look more appealing to buyers through furniture placement, decor and neutralizing.

There is a mixture of my things with theirs, all in an attempt to make it look more attractive so that a buyer will come along who can’t resist purchasing the home.

During the time on the market, the homeowner’s don’t live like they normally would.  They don’t invite others in since things need to stay as they are for the sake of the “show”.

It is no longer really the owner’s home.

It is all temporary.

When the home has sold, everything is removed.  I gather my inventory and take it back to storage for the next house.

And the home becomes an empty shell.

On the other hand, when I do interior decorating with a client, we start with a shell, a blank canvas, and go up from there.

We remove anything that isn’t necessary but keep the sentimental.  We hang on to the things that have meaning and importance and are “life-giving” to the client and her family.

We work with the things that represent who they are and reflect their personalities.  This is, after all, their home.

Anything that I bring in, everything that I purchase with them will be permanent because they are not planning on leaving the residence. This is their sanctuary. They love their home.

photo 1-13

Every client wants a result that makes their home feel cozy, warm, inviting.  A relaxing retreat when they walk in the door.

Staging is artificial and temporary no matter how great it looks. It was never meant to last forever.

Interior decorating is the real deal.  It is permanent.  It is personal. And if it’s done right, it takes a house and makes it a home.

In the matter of our souls, we have two choices:

We can stage our souls with temporary “fixtures” (fixes) that will just to the job of making it look “full and pretty”, or we can invest in permanent interior design that will last.

What does staging the soul look like?

It looks like we’ve filled our lives with things.  Think busyness, power, influence, material things, anything that we think will make us look better to the casual observer.

A mix and match assortment of  things that  don’t reflect a sense of safety or permanence.

No one feels welcome there, they know it is just a pretty show.  A walk through.

Conversations will only go as deep as the “front porch” of show will allow.

If our soul is only staged, it won’t feel like it’s really ours because deep down we know that none of it will last.  And we’re afraid others will find us out.

None of it has the ability to sustain our soul’s desire forever.

We can actually “gain the whole world, but lose our souls”.  Matthew 14:26.

What could be a home would only be a house.

But what if we did some interior design in our souls?  What would that look like?

photo 2-15

It would be simply, but beautifully decorated. “Less is more” applies here. It would be void of clutter and mess. Only the best would make the cut.  Everything in it would be permanent and life-givinglove being at the very top of that list.

It would be a home where rest and peace would live and where the presence of God would permeate every wall.

That home would be inviting to others.  Its doors would be open to let others in.  They would smell the fragrances of grace and beauty.  They would taste things like acceptance and forgiveness and healing.


Everyone would feel at home in that type of soul.

When I go in to stage a house, anything I put in there will only serve a temporary purpose.

But when I go into a permanent residence I help the owner fill it with “permanent” things to make it a home.

Your soul and mine are a permanent residence. Eternal even.

Will we choose to fill it up with “stuff” that is only temporary, or will we do it the justice it deserves of supplying it with permanent things that will sustain and reflect its life and the life of its Creator?

Ephesians 3:16-19 –  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.




The First Step Of The Journey (a look into the core of our being – part 4)

So we’ve established that we have a soul.

Now what in the world are we supposed to do with it?  How can we take care of something we can’t see?

I’m going to start with the basics.

In order for our souls to experience what they were created for we have to have a relationship with their Creator.

To know God.

I don’t mean knowing ABOUT God.  I’m talking relationship WITH God.


It’s kind of like this:

Meryl Streep is a great actress.

– I’ve seen and enjoy her work.

– I think she is amazing.

– I could quote lines from movies she’s been in.

– I could look up all of her vital statistics and wow you with the trivia I could collect on her life.

I know ABOUT Meryl Streep, but I don’t know her.  I don’t have a relationship with her.

And while I admire what she does, I wouldn’t be able to call her up to go for coffee or share an intimate conversation with her because I don’t really know her at all.

I don’t have access to her.

In reality, outside of her work, who she as a person has never impacted my life.

I can’t call her a friend.

As much as I know ABOUT her, she is still a stranger to me.

People get confused about knowing God.

Most of us know something ABOUT Him.

 – We can quote scripture.

– We can admire His work.

– We can refer to Him generically as “one of the greats”.

But do we really KNOW Him?

What if I found out that Meryl Streep was trying to get ahold of me?  What if she wanted to get acquainted and share all of her success with me?  What if she wanted me to be her friend?

Would I say,

No thank you.  It’s enough to just know ABOUT you.  I don’t want what you have to offer me.  I don’t want to know more about your heart and your incredible mind.  I’d rather watch you from afar and pass on an actual relationship.”?

I’ll just tell you right now, if and when she calls me with that kind of offer, I am NOT going to say, “no thank you”.

I would be a fool.

God has pursued you and me since the beginning of time.

To reconnect with that soul that He created.

He has offered to give us everything He has.  Everything that He is – Unconditional love and acceptance.  Everything that He has waiting for us – A rich life here and an indescribable eternity with Him after our time here is done.

He has Friend Requested us in the most profound way.  

By sending His own Son to die for us.  How could His request be any more urgent than that?

Anything that He has to offer us (outside of admiring the work of His creation, the gift of each new morning’s breath) goes untapped and unexperienced if we turn down His offer to our souls.

John 14:6 – Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through (a relationship with) me.”

Jesus is the answer to everything our soul is looking for – the way (direction), the truth (the answer), the life (meaning,purpose) and The Father (a relationship with its Creator).

– Do you want lasting healing for your soul?  Do you want to know your soul’s destiny? Do you want an answer to that deep down ache for something more?

– Do you want a part of the riches that come from having a Friend in high places?

Have you accepted His Friend Request?

This, my friend, is the only place where the journey of your soul can start and He is ready when you are.

Are you ready?

John 10:9 – 10 –  (Jesus said), “ I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

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If You’re Alive, You’ve Got One (a look into the core of our being – part 3)


child looking out windowThere you are in your car, driving, listening to your favorite CD and singing along.  But there’s that one song.  As it plays, it brings with it that familiar lump in your throat, that tear in your eye.

It touches a place inside you that none of the others could reach.

You’re at the movie theater.  The popcorn is a little too buttery and your red vines are stale, but it doesn’t matter.  The storyline has grabbed you and pulled you in.  It tugs every heart string and reminds of you of when….

You find yourself laughing out loud one minute and reaching for your Kleenex the next.

You get together with a friend for coffee.  It may be an old friend, it may be a new one.  The conversation starts out light but you can see in her eyes that there is more.  Over lattes and scones, lives are intertwined through deep conversations and mutual experiences.

You are reminded again or discovering for the first time that these types of friendships are few and far between.

You are sitting on a bus looking out the window.  You are lost in thought.  Your mind wanders to dreams yet unfulfilled, and purpose not yet attained.  To aches that have left you with a hunger and thirst for more than you’ve experienced so far.

What that looks like, you’re not even sure.

In each of these scenarios, we experience the reality of our souls.  We find out what triggers its joy, its sorrow, its passions and longings.

It can be a sight, a smell, an experience or  memory that goes to that place in us that we can’t see or explain.

That depth that makes us human.

But no matter what touches or impacts our souls, there is only one thing that can eternally satisfy it.

That inexplicable part of us wants more than anything else in this world to experience sacred connection with its Creator.

It’s been that way since the beginning of time.

Genesis 2:7 – And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

When God breathed into Adam’s nostrils, Adam BECAME A LIVING SOUL.

Prior to that, he was just a body and an inactive mind.  A picture of the absence of life. A beautiful, but incomplete creation.

The soul came to life through  God’s own breath.  This creature that He had made in His image, now carried God’s air in his soul.

He was alive for the first time.  He was immediately connected to God and experienced a completely intimate relationship with his Creator.

 His soul was pure and healthy and unmarred and full of nothing but God Himself.

Too quickly, the mind and body of mankind made a choice that left the soul black, wounded and wandering lost in a now broken world, and we are left with the consequence of souls aching for God’s air in their collapsing lungs.

If we are still breathing, we all have a soul.

Some of our souls are broken and bleeding.  Some are black and blue from abuse.  Some have shriveled from starvation and neglect.  Some are numbed by choices made.

But they are still there.

Still revivable by a fresh new breath from God.

 As long as we are alive, these souls will cry out for attention and health.  If they need to, they will scream in us to turn to The One who is pursuing them to give them new life.

A second breath.

A second chance.

The soul will use our bodies and minds, whatever it takes, to get us to look inward and listen to their cries for help.


For me, it’s that pit in the stomach.  That intruding thought.  That senseless anxiety. A restless discontentedness. Boredom. Unexplained sadness.

Something is wrong inside, out of balance, starving, fatigued.  

Somehow I have convinced myself too many times that I can survive and thrive on possibly good, but cheap and disappointing versions of God.

And every single time, those things will and do fail me. 

All  of my mental and physical symptoms are reminders that my soul is in need of its keeper’s attention (me) and its keeper’s Keeper’s presence, healing and life (God).

So when you feel those longings you can’t explain, when you literally feel “deep calling to deep” from the center of your being,

recognize it for what it is.  

It is the soul that is aching for what it was created for. WHO it was created for.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has put eternity into man’s heart…

It is crying out to be His resting place, to once again have that deep, intimate connection that it was meant to have since the beginning of time.

The soul is crafted to settle for nothing less than an attachment to eternity.

Psalm 84:2 – My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

How is that possible and what does that look like?

Let’s talk about that next time.  

 – In preparation for that, listen closely to your soul today.  Pay attention to its longings, to the things that have left it dissatisfied.

– Recognize the reality of its presence and the sacred purpose it holds.

– Consider what might happen if it knew complete connection and satisfaction with its Creator.

– Imagine the peace, the rest that would come to a soul that is filled to the brim with the mystery  and promise of eternity.






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Tending The Garden (A look into the core of our being – Part 2)

purple flowers

I can decorate any room in a house, but put me in the backyard and I feel like I’m all thumbs.

And NOT green ones.

The other day I was at a friend’s house, helping her brainstorm ideas for her kids’ rooms as they are in the process of adopting a beautiful little boy from Ethiopia.

We talked about decor, we talked about furniture placement and replacement.  We talked about making his new room comfortable and inviting.  His own little place as he adjusts to his new and wonderful life.

The house was my comfort zone of “tending to”.

Before I left, I looked out at her backyard.  I hadn’t been there in a while and what I saw when I looked out the window and later stepped outside left me with my mouth hanging open in wonder (and total envy!).

This small space had been transformed by the placement of gorgeous whiskey-barrel-type pots of various sizes filled with the most luscious greens and vibrantly colored flowers.

All of this in the middle of a drought, where most of our yards are left bare and brown and thirsty.

This “garden” of sorts with its trailing vines and beautiful vegetation was  a little wonderland of gorgeousness.  No dead leaves, no straggling roots at the surface crying out for water.

The soil was rich, the care for these plants was meticulous and passionate, and the result showed.

It didn’t just happen.

It had a faithful keeper who watered, weeded, pruned and loved it.

I wanted my yard to look like that.

As I drove away that day, I dreaded coming home to see my own “garden”.

In comparison, it would seem lifeless and arbitrary.  It would show my lack of either passion for it or knowledge about it.

It would highlight my lack of green thumbs.

Sure enough.  When I got home, in sheer avoidance, I went inside and avoided what I knew had been untended.  I went into my nice clean, decorated house and stayed there.

Where my knowledge and expertise feel most, well, comfortable.

Since I didn’t know what to do in my yard, since it scared me a bit,  since it looked like too much work and would take too much time,

I opted for the easy way out.  To come inside and close the curtains.  

Easy fix.

Except that it’s no fix at all.  Because without attention and care, my brown spots in the grass will still be brown, my struggling plants will still be headed toward certain death.

I can close my eyes (or in this case, my curtains) to it, but it doesn’t mean it’s not still a problem.

You see where I’m going with this, right?

We all have a garden that is our soul.

It has the potential of beauty and life.  To bring joy to both ourselves and others.  To be fragrant and alive with color.

But we’ve got to look after it, because no one else will. No one else can or is supposed to.

We need to view it as the delicate flower that it is. To make sure it is planted in soft, healthy, fertile soil – the truth of God’s word, the recognition of who God is and who I am in Him.  To yank the weeds that threaten to choke it and strangle the life right out of it – busyness, bad attitudes, unbridled ambition, greed, selfishness, bitterness, etc.  To water and feed it with the the nutrients it needs – growing relationships with God and people, time for reflection, soul-healthy input, etc.

Care for the soul may not fall within our comfort zone.  We may feel like I do when I think about gardening – clueless and brown-thumbed. We may just want to play dumb and close the curtain by tending to every other part of us BUT that.

But if we ignore that deepest place in us, meant to be our direct connect point with God, it WILL wither.

Proverbs 4:23 – Keep your heart (soul) with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

I get to choose how I want my garden to look.  Since I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m going to ask my friend to come and help me, to show me what knowing my garden and tending to it looks like.  Even in a drought, my small garden can be a picture of health and life with the right care.

Why would I opt for dying brown over vibrant green?  

green plants

Want to read more about readying your garden for a healthy crop?

Check out Mark 4:1-20

It’s the story of a farmer planting seeds in various types of soil and the results. (NOTE:  Replace the word “soil” with the word “soul” and watch the story come alive! Thanks for that tidbit, John Ortberg!)

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The Hungry Soul – (a look into the core of our being – part 1)

When I put my computer down yesterday after writing my post, I had that nagging feeling of “I’m not done yet.”  That there is so much more to write, to talk about, to know when it comes to this mysterious thing we call the soul.

We are all born with one, but we barely understand anything about it.  We can’t see it so we can easily ignore it.

But the truth is, the soul WON’T be ignored.

As John Ortberg says, “It is the nature of the soul to need”.

It’s designed to need.  To sense a void that is limitless.

And it will let us know.

little drummer boy

When I was a little girl, my parents tell me that watching Christmas specials on t.v. was always a bit of an ordeal.  The Little Drummer Boy was my very favorite. And it ruined me every year.

Every single time I watched it, I would be in tears afterwards.  I wanted the story to go on.  It couldn’t end there!  It was just getting so good!  I had fallen in love with those adorable little clay characters and couldn’t imagine that I wouldn’t see them again for another year.  (I think, secretly, I had a mad crush on that little drummer, and wanted him to grow up so I could marry him. :-)  Hey, he was cute and had a great heart! )

Every year, the same show, the same response.

I wanted more and that show would always be so appealing, but never enough for me.  Each time I would sit in front of that black and white t.v., in my footie pajamas with those big pink curlers in my hair and hope that this time I would be satisfied with the 30 minutes it offered me.

My longing was too big for that limited holiday show, no matter how good it was. 

A soul is like that.  

The longing is vast.  We desperately try to feed it with what we can see, hear, touch, smell, taste.  We go back again and again to the same things thinking this will be the time that we will be satisfied completely.

But the soul has a voracious appetite that can’t be satisfied with anything that has limits.

It is its nature to need something eternal.

That eliminates everything temporary that we assume will satiate our soul’s palate – money, success, food, material things, fame, hobbies, habits.  

There is only one thing that doesn’t come up short.


It seems like human love would be enough, but the soul’s need is so vast that no person’s affection could completely fill that void.  We are limited and imperfect sources of love.

No, the soul wants the never-ending SOURCE OF THAT LOVE.

The soul can only be satiated by something as limitless as itself.

God is that something.

God is that LOVE.

He is our soul’s mate.

Anything less will leave the soul hungry and thirsty.  Longing.  Unsatisfied.  Aching.

We can go back and try again and again to try and make our soul believe that pleasure or wealth or career or relationship will be enough to dull the pain of emptiness.  And it might work for a while.

But the soul knows better.

It will be that constant deep and hungry growling inside.  It will resemble anxiety, depression, restlessness, addictive behavior, anger, fear, self-consumed thoughts, fatigue. A myriad of things that will leave us wanting something more.

This is what happens when the soul is slowly starving on a diet of tasty junk food.

And until we let it taste the LOVE of God Himself, to savor something that will fill every minute space of that eternal void within us, its hunger will gnaw at us from the inside out.

The soul will waste away or become ill with want, screaming until it loses its voice on us.

Will we let God deeply satisfy our souls or learn to live with the hunger that threatens to eat away at our very core?

Now back to The Little Drummer Boy  (It will always come back to him for me :-))….

Do you remember his story?

After all these years I decided to watch it just now to simply take a stroll down memory lane.

But what I noticed (aside from the rudimentary claymation of the late 60’s) was that even the little drummer boy’s story is one of a broken and lost soul, an orphan who has been so wounded that his demeanor changes into one of hatred. He has nothing but a drum, the prize possession that was a gift from his late father.  After being kidnapped and controlled by a manipulative man who used and abused him for his own gain, he lost his love of playing that drum.  Eventually, he frees himself from his captor and heads across the desert in search of someone who can help him.

Not even knowing exactly what he is looking for, he is drawn, through curiosity to a star in the sky that shines brighter than all the others.  He follows its light and ends up at the manger where someone tells him that the baby he sees is a king.

He has nothing to offer but his drum.  The only possession he had, the only thing he knew how to do.  He let down his angry guard in the presence of Jesus and played for him.

His soul healed when he gave everything he had to Jesus.  His life was changed.  His perspective transformed.  His demeanor lightened.

Jesus had saved his soul.

That little drummer boy’s soul was starving in its battered state.  The light of Jesus drew him and the heart of Jesus filled that empty, hungry void.

And yes, I am just as surprised by this analogy as you are.  (You can watch the childhood show on Youtube. The symbolism is uncanny and was a sweet treat of perfect timing. :-) )

How is your soul?

 – – What do you find yourself dreaming would be the answer to your soul’s hunger?  More of _________?

 – – What do you find yourself going back to again and again hoping to be satisfied “this time”?

 – – What do you run to when you feel that gnaw of soul hunger inside of you?

 – – What are you asking God for that really only He is the answer to?

Psalm 84:2 – I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.

Psalm 43:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Psalm 23:3 – He restores my soul…

Genesis 2:7 – And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.


Scarfing Down Soul Food


So there’s this book.

reading book

And if you have any interest at all in your “soul”, it is a MUST READ.

I am in the process of devouring John Ortberg’s book, Soul Keeping – Caring for The Most Important Part of You.  (A very welcome birthday gift from my brother and sister-in-law :-) )

He defines what the soul is, what it needs, and how it can be restored.  

It is delicious and satisfying. Loaded with the richness of the truth of Scripture and the reality of human longing.

The “fat kid and cake” scenario is happening right here, right now on my couch.

And I want to share my cake with you…

To have explained so clearly that part of us, that deepest part, that makes us who we are, is refreshing and rejuvenating at every level.  It helps to explain what we need so desperately, why we need it and how to experience the fulfillment of that need.

It shows how that our healthy soul has been God’s intention for us all along.

It explains that when the soul is in a poor condition it affects every other part of us – our mind, our heart, our body. And that when our soul is healthy, those same parts of us gain the benefits.

It defines the enemies of our souls – those things that preoccupy us and divert our focus from what matters most.

Those enemies that we don’t see coming, that sneak up behind us, dressed in very nice clothes, introduce themselves as friends and then rob our souls of the time and attention we need to devote to their well-being.  (He doesn’t say this specifically, but this is the word picture that came to me while soaking in Mr. Ortberg’s wisdom.)

I could go on and on, but my “book review” would never do justice.  

This I know – That if my soul is not in a healthy place, I will not be the sponge to God’s nourishing word and joy-giving will that I need to be.  If my sponge (my soul) is empty and dry, then when it is squeezed by circumstance it will have no reserve of “living water” to refresh others.  My body, mind and heart will suffer.  Others will suffer.  

BUT – as John Ortberg so aptly says, the cluttered/hardened/shallow soul “is closer to being saved than it knows”. It just needs to let the seed of God’s healing touch (His word, His heart for us) go deep enough to take root. 

I’m still learning.  For the rest of my life, I’m sure.

The soul is vast and largely incomprehensible.

But it is where God connects with us.  Where we hear His voice and see His perspective.

 Where He pours His life into ours.

It’s where we experience God Himself, the Holy Spirit, who can heal us, change us and breathe His air into our soul’s lungs.

When we experience this, our soul’s cry will will mimic Oliver Twist’s phrase-

“Please Sir, I want some more.” 

I’m going to go and eat some more of my soul’s cake now.

coffee and book

Please, please, please read this book.  Then when we talk we can salivate together. :-)

Psalm 130:5 – I wait for the Lord, my whole being (my soul) waits, and in his word I put my hope.

Matthew 22:37 – Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (soul)

Psalm 103:1 – Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Psalm 139:13-14 – For you created my inmost being (my soul); you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 42:11 – Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Matthew 16:26 – What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Jeremiah 6:16 – This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.




No Is Not A Four Letter Word

girl in field

She walked in the door, dropped her keys on the counter and then did nothing but stare off into space.  She’d made her decision but the inner battle to get there was grueling and lingered in her thoughts.

Somehow she’d believed that this bold step would have left her feeling empowered.  That she would have been proud of herself for standing firm and confident in her decision.

But she felt none of that.  

Instead, as she tried to distract herself with busywork and household chores, all she felt was guilt.

Because, honestly, her decision could have gone either way.

To almost anyone else, a positive answer would have made more sense.

On paper, this situation didn’t look all that much different than anything else she’d done in the past.

But she had chosen to listen to her gut.  

To trust the inborn instinct that waved the red flag of prior experience and practical reality.  

She had chosen what was best for her.

She had said “No”.

It still rang in her ears and left knots in her stomach.

  • It would inconvenience others. (never her goal)
  • It would be an unpopular answer. (ugh)
  • It would fly in the face of her natural instinct to please. (ouch!)
  • It felt too close to selfishness for her to rest comfortably in it. (bleh)

But still she had said it.  


Where was the relief?

Where was the “aaaaahhhhh” that was supposed to come when she settled on a direction?

Maybe it would come later, maybe it wouldn’t.

People would be disappointed, potentially upset. That was unavoidable and just the thought of that scenario killed her.

But she had said it any way.


There was no joy that came with the word.

No matter how busy she kept herself, she couldn’t escape the residual war between her ears. 

It still echoed like cymbals crashing in her head.

Such a small word with such a big effect.

I am she.

This was my very recent experience.

You’d think that something traumatic had happened in the way my body reacted to doing such a thing:

I felt sick.  I couldn’t sleep.  I fretted and stewed.

But still I said “No”.

Why was such a small word such a difficult thing to say? Why did pronouncing it seem to choke me?

Can you relate?

Why is it that so many of us (particularly women, it seems) feel as if “no” is a four letter word if it’s not used in regards to morality or safety?

Why can’t we say what was probably the first word we ever learned?

Is it because it was also the first word we were told NOT to say?  

We came to associate “no” with being rude, selfish and even just plain wrong.

We grew up believing that “no” is reserved only for discipline, dire circumstances, moral choices or protection of others.

We don’t recognize it as a word to also protect our own souls.

Sometimes it’s okay to say “no” just for us.

Sometimes that is reason enough.

And while the generous nurturer in us would rather say yes to any and every request from others, if we want to retain our sanity, our peace of mind, our balance and well-being,

“No” HAS to be part of our vocabulary.

 – Even if it will rarely be the most popular choice.

– Even if it may feel uncomfortable at first, grating against our desire to please and our ambition to put others’ needs ahead of our own.

– Even if our natural senses might cringe at the foreign use of this word.

Just because it doesn’t FEEL okay doesn’t mean it ISN’T okay.

NO is not a four-letter word.

(But, to be completely honest, it still tastes like a swear word in my mouth.)

Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is time for everything – “A time to embrace and a time to refrain…a time to be silent and a time to speak”.

A time to say “No”.

We can say it with grace.  We can say it with kindness.  And we can say it with confidence.


 – Is there an area of your life where you are saying yes when, for your own well-being, you need to be saying no?

– Are you over-committed?  Overwhelmed?  Over-booked?

– Is the habit of people-pleasing calling the shots on your decisions?

– Can you commit to saying no to something this week that will help to lessen your load/revive your heart/free up your schedule or resources?

– Can you protect your heart/soul/mind/body with one small word?

– Can you stop viewing “no” as a four-letter word?

I’m going to try.

If I could learn to say it at two, I should be able to say it again at 52. 

I hear it gets easier with use. :-)


A Shout Out To All Of You….

photo 2-7

Friendship “Life — natural life — has no better gift to give. Who could have deserved it?” – C.S. Lewis

Birthdays have a way of making us reflect on life, don’t they?

Every one that we add gives us another year of happenings, experiences and insights that we didn’t have the year before.

Hopefully, although we are one year older, we are also one year wiser, stronger and better as a human being.

Circumstances in the prior 365 days stretch us beyond our normal capacities and create growth.

But my favorite reflection is about the people.

New people enter our lives in that 12 month period (and in the course of life!) who offer new stories and perspectives that tweak our minds’ vision, and our hearts’ compassion.

Yesterday I turned 52.  

And though I had no specific expectations for the day, I was overcome by waves of emotion as I reflected on my life.

The intense gratitude I felt had nothing to do with the gifts people so generously gave. It had everything to do with the people who have marked my life not just in the past year, but for the past half-century-plus.  All of the family and friends (and friends who have become family) whom I’m so blessed to call mine.

My thankfulness felt all-consuming as I looked at all the people who shared sweet messages and well-wishes from around the world.

People who have graced me in ways I could never have imagined.  

People that I’ve met, sometimes through the strangest of circumstances.

Every place we have lived, every circumstance we have faced has brought with it people who have made my life richer and more meaningful.

People who have taught me so much.  

People who have impacted and loved me.

People who have trudged through the valleys and shouted on the mountain tops of my life.

Yesterday felt like a beautiful stroll down memory lane.  Faces flashed before my eyes.  Sweet milestones and moments came back to life.

And all of them had to do with the people that I love.

So this post is dedicated to you.

I will forever be thankful that Jesus introduced me to you, for allowing our paths to cross in whatever ways they did, so that we could walk together, whether near or from a distance, old friendship or new.  

Yesterday, tears ran down my face and into a very contented, very humbled smile.

You, my friend, have been part of these past 52 years in one way or another. An extraordinary gift.

And if you’re willing, I’d love to have you join me for the next 52…. :-)

Forever and ever grateful,


Philippians 1:3 – Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.

no comments

When You Realize Life Is Short And Time Is Fast

antique pocket watch

Life is so dang short and time flies so dang fast.

I remember my parents looking at me at various milestones of my life as a child/young person and saying, “it seems like just yesterday…where did the time go?”

My eyes would roll as I’d listen to what I thought was just a rote hyperbole.  All parents said this.  These phrases came from the pamphlet on the myriad of things you say when you’re an adult .

Or so I thought.  Wrongly, of course.

Because I became the parent, the adult, and I find myself saying the exact same things.  (And I know I didn’t read any such pamphlet.)

What happens?  Is there something scientific that changes in our maturing brains that makes us sense time differently?  Or is it just the fact that as we age we begin to see life and its brevity for what it really was all along?

hand and pocket watch

Life is short.  Time is fast.

I got the beautiful opportunity to sit with a new friend over coffee and hear her story.   She is a wife, young mom and a lovely creative soul.

She is also a recent cancer survivor.

She has come through her journey with a new energy and perspective of life.

And it is nothing short of inspiring.

At a time in her life when she should be distracted and overwhelmed by her responsibilities as a mom of three young children, she has deliberately chosen to focus on each day and its opportunities.

To not miss a thing.

To savor the heck out of every of the moments she has been given.

She appreciates the brevity of life.  She understands the pace that time keeps.

And she is doing something about it.


Life is short.  Time is fast.

Her new mantra is “do something every day that scares me.”

To face life head on because its not going to stop just because we hesitate.

 – She tries new things, simple or difficult, that she has never done before.

– She pushes herself harder than she would have in the past.

– She finds beauty in what can so easily be ignored.

– She takes every opportunity to impart life wisdom to her kids.

– She loves her husband in practical ways.

She is squeezing life and everything beautiful is oozing out of it.

alarm clock

Life is short.  Time is fast.

Her energy was contagious and when she left, I could still feel the smile in the air that she left behind.

My very next encounter, only minutes later, was with a normally vivacious young woman.  But when I approached her, I could tell something was wrong.

No eye contact.

Her chin trembling to hold back choking tears.

She told me her grandmother had died the previous day, from the very same cancer that the young mom I’d spoken to earlier had survived.

As I hugged her,she sobbed on my shoulder, her words ringing in my ear:

“We thought we had more time with her.”

Same cancer.  Different outcome.

watch face

Life is short.  Time is fast.

Within a two hour span, I was poignantly reminded twice of those two facts.

What do I take away from it?

 – That I need to treat life as the delicate flower that it is.

– That I cannot take anyone/anything for granted.

– That time will not wait for me. I need to move with it.

– That there is so much to learn from the every day happenings.

– That I need to be deliberate in how I use this fleeting time.

clock on building

Life is short.  Time is fast.

Mom and dad, you were right.  Sorry for the sighs and rolling eyes when you told me so.  Time DOES fly.  Life really IS short.  Thanks for living life in front of me in a way that shows me what to do with that knowledge.  xoxoxo

Psalm 90:12 – So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

James 4:14 – Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Ephesians 5:15 -16 – Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.


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